June 26, 2012

Review: City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare

Author: Cassandra Clare
Title:  City of Fallen Angels
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#4)
ISBN: 9781442403543
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Buy your copy: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And--most importantly of all--she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side--along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls--neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in "City of Fallen Angels."
” GoodReads’ blurb

It’s taken me over two months to get through this book. I got started, gave up, started up again, fell asleep... Rinse and repeat. Hopefully, the review will be easier to deal with.

First off, I think I need to post a mayor disclaimer here: I had the audiobook edition. It is entirely possible that my perception of this book was colored by the performance. It was a performance I didn’t like: I’ve been following the whole series in audio, and while the narrator wasn’t stellar, she got the story across with minimal interference. This time, though, the voice actors made me grind my teeth. On the one hand, can you say monotone? In Clary’s scene, it was I’m-so-awed-I-sound-breathless monotone, but still, there was very little inflexion. The male reader had a nice, rolling voice and an accent I liked (very NY, I thought) but he suffered from the same problem: regardless of scene, of character speaking, of subject matter at hand... it all sounded the same.

I think that’s part of the reason I kept falling asleep-something that’s never happened before, and I’m well into my twenty audiobook mark! I think it’s also made me feel worse about the book, even though when I stopped to think after I had listened to it (after I had time to digest it all) I found that there had been nothing that truly bothered me to the point of giving up the novel, plot and character wise.

Sure, there were things I didn’t quite get, and I’m looking at you, Simon. I got to like him by book 3, but somehow his spotlight here felt slightly forced to me. So... he’s having a crisis, the nephilim are too good for the likes of him, and somehow he’s got two girlfriends and a certain someone’s ex running after him. Perhaps I dozed off and missed something really, really key but I can’t see where his relationship drama is coming from. I liked Camille’s addition, for entirely different purposes, and I liked his introspective moments, but the first half of the book moved way too slow, between his moodiness and Clary’s relationship issues.

That’s another thing I didn’t care for. Jace acting weird and pushing Clary away because... why? Couldn’t he tell her? Couldn’t he have told her earlier, before it was too late? And how silly is he, that he couldn’t think of the whole issue by himself instead of having to wait almost all the novel before asking for help?

The only ones I still loved were, of course, Alec and Magnus. I kept reading, I’ll be honest, looking forward to their next scene, their next dialogue line... And I have to admit that I’ll go into the next book just to read about them and the evolution (or lack thereof) in their relationship.

Sure, it’ll be nice to know just what woe has befallen Jace this time, and what Clary will think up to fix the situation, and just where Sebastian is headed... but right now, I can only think of Magnus and Alec. Those are my only sure bet. Well, that and a print copy – I’m done with audio, unless they chance voice actors again.


  1. Anonymous27 June, 2012

    I thought Ed Westwick did the voice for this book. CoFA is certainly different but I think its a good thing because its technically the start to the new trilogy. I have never did audio but I'm sure it would be different than reading on your own.

    1. Yeah, different is good in this case. The story is over, and rather than milk a conflict that's found a suitable end, it was a good plan to start afresh. But I still think that they started off too slow... Took more than half the book to hook me, and if you stop to think about it, nothing really *happens*.

      But... yeah. It's different than reading on your own, that's for sure! :)

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. The one and only time I ever did audio books was with The Twilight Saga, and that was AFTER I had read the print versions. (Yeah, that's how much I love this series!) I don't think I could ever listen to a recorded book without reading it in print first. (I don't do ebooks.) So I think most of the problems you had with this book (except for Jace acting like a jerk) were probably due to the monotone voices you mentioned.

    I really admire your persistence! You kept at it, coming back to the book again and again... I, too, like to finish a book, unless, of course, it's so horrendous I just don't want to waste my time. Kudos to you!!

    I've heard a lot about this series, and own all the books, would you believe...yet, have never read it. I really appreciate your honest thoughts about this volume. Now I want to get to these books more than ever! (And I 'hear' my own voice in my head as I read...Lol.)

    1. Hehe! Actually, I love audiobooks. I'd never think of picking up my own print of Dresden Files, Soul Screamers or Shade series... but there you go: outstanding audio performances, all of them.

      I'll be honest and tell you a little secret, Maria: I kept coming back because of Magnus.

      There, I say it. Now let's hope the Jace die-hard fans don't eat me! *laughs*

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your wonderful comment!